GA schools and peanut allergies

Posted on: Thu, 04/11/2002 - 12:37pm
ddaub's picture
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Joined: 04/11/2002 - 09:00

pHas any one had experience with making GA schools peanut free?/p
pI am currently fighting the local preschool and soon to be Kindergarten and Elementary School to make a peanut free enviroment for my 3.5 yr old son./p
pThe Dietician and Principal say that I am violating the rights of every other student by eliminating peanuts from the menu. What about the rights of my son to live a healthy and productive life?/p
pThis issue is made more difficult because GA schools receive free peanut butter and peanut products since the local farmers receive receive Federal and State funds. /p
pAny help or advice would be greatly appreciated!/p
pDavid/p

Posted on: Thu, 04/11/2002 - 9:33pm
KatiesMom's picture
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Joined: 03/01/2000 - 09:00

David,
Without getting long winded....
1. Go to the posts about 504 plans. Rhonda has done an excellent job explaining them. I won't go through the whole 504 thing here.
2. Get a 504 hearing. A 504 hearing probably won't get peanuts/peanut butter off of the menu but it will force the school to acknowledge that severe allergies are considered a 'hidden disability' by the federal government. The school will have to made 'accomodations' for your child. Those accomodations vary from school to school, there are no specific guidelines.

Posted on: Tue, 04/23/2002 - 1:00am
k's picture
k
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Joined: 09/22/2001 - 09:00

Dear David~
GA huh?
Ok, start digging. The 504 information suggested above is absolutely great stuff. Also, get yourself a 504 Handbook from your school system. Read it. Your child does have rights and the more you know about your childs rights the better you are equipped to help him or her.
Sounds like you are going to have to educate educate educate your school system. They may be hard pressed to understand but eventually things will begin to change. It may take a long time or you might get lucky and hit pay dirt early. By the sounds of it though, it looks like a possible long road ahead.
Again, educate yourself, you do have legal standing and can protect your child.
Everyone has a different view on what approach to take. I started out with the...you catch more flies with honey than vinegar approach. Until it no longer was working and I found myself apologizing for my childs pn allergy and any inconvience it might cause. I have since stopped apologizing. There is nothing to apologize for. I am always willing to help work through something and sit down at the table, if you will. But....I'm no longer sorry.
You can do this, you will see.
Good Luck, stay strong, learn as much as you can!
Best to you and yours..
k

Posted on: Sun, 05/12/2002 - 12:42pm
triciaGA's picture
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Joined: 05/12/2002 - 09:00

I moved to GA 2 years ago with twin 3rd graders who are severely peanut allergic. I was successful in getting a peanut free table in the lunchroom for them and also peanut free classrooms (obvious pb products, not made ins). My kids also have a 504 plan and before we even considered moving I called the county's board of ed to find out who the district RN coordinator was and worked with her. If you are looking to create a peanut free school you will get much resistance, however if you approach it as protecting your child in the most reasonable way possible in their own classroom and lunchroom you will probably have more success. I understand it is very unnerving to feel you are sending your child off to a situation that may not be safe. When my twins were in Kindergarten in IL the school was extremely resistant. I went home and started a local support group (hospital, Dr., school contacts) and when my kids went off to 1st grade (all day with lunch and snacks)I had a local group of parents with similiar issues in local schools that added strength and credibility to my requests and I was able to provide my kids with the peanut free classroom and lunch table. It is very scary - you need to protect them without ostracizing them. I am now struggling with the middle school transition. Good luck to you - the Food Allergy Network school binder was very helpful - and when you provide that very large and official document binder that has backing from the National FAN, the AMA etc the school will probably become a bit more cooperative. Many times I think it's a lack of education on the schools part. I tend to present it to the school as my husband and I are trying to minimize the risks to our children and we feel the school system would also like to minimize their risk (in a nice way of course - but they do get the point) Start at the top with the County's person and the School principal. But you definately want them on your side. I have found it is possible to have extremely good relations with the school - and I also seem to get the better teachers as I do specifically request that they place them with teachers who are caring, empathetic, and approachable because in a medical emergency I don't want my kids afraid to talk to go to the teacher. It can be done - hang in there.

Posted on: Sat, 06/29/2002 - 9:26am
Ramona's picture
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Joined: 07/06/2001 - 09:00

My PA child has not yet started school in GA, but I went ahead and posed a question to the Office of Civil Rights. I wanted to know whether serving peanuts in the lunchroom of a PA child with life-threatening allergies, classified as a 504 disability, discriminates against the child. The response that I got suggested that you could have a case for a lawsuit. Hopefully, it wouldn't have to go that far, but knowing the possibility exists could at least get your school board to take
the allergy seriously.

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